Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Four

Apr 27, 2023

The mental energy I need to come up with creative blogging ideas is unavailable.  But the reader mailbag is filling up with great questions, so let’s answer a few.  If you would like to send me one, you can reach me at capitolhillstyle (at) gmail.

Hi Abra,

My boyfriend’s sister is graduating from law school in May. She will be moving in with her S.O. and starting a Big Law job in NYC in the fall. I’m looking for a ~$100 gift to give her and thought you might have some ideas. Thinking either related to her new, adult apartment or an investment piece for her new career, but open to ideas!

Thank you! Meredith

It sounds like she is about to experiencing a huge life change.  My first suggestion in these situations is an experience gift or a useful gift.  $100 credit to her local dry cleaner (lawyer clothes don’t wash well).  A gift card for a nice bar/restaurant near her home so that when life gets nuts, she and your brother can have a relaxing night out.  A trip to a spa after a few weeks of being a first-year associate so she can have something to look forward to.

If you’re looking for a physical gift, a nice piece of art can be used in an office or in an apartment.  Both Minted and Artfully Walls have nice pieces.  I have both of these fine art prints, a Kelly Ventura and a Evgeny Vetrov.  I also like Jenny Komenda’s Juniper Print Shop.  This print hangs in my office.

Another option is to put your $100 with several other people to purchase a functional work bag.  I still carry my nylon Lo & Sons because it doesn’t get as heavy as a leather bag.  Lo & Sons is having a 40% off sale for Mother’s Day, if you’re interested.  If you need a leather option, I have been very happy with my Cuyana System Tote, you can customize the piece by snapping laptop cases, clutches, etc. in and out.  It doesn’t get as heavy as my all-leather laptop bag, which by the end of a city commute matters.

My last piece of advice is that you wait a few weeks to buy her a gift. She won’t know what she needs until she gets settled.  So send her a nice card and an IOU for a lovely gift when she knows what will serve her best.

Hello,

Can you recommend a good body lotion for summer?  My skin gets so dry.  I think I’ve tried every drugstore product and every department store product.

Thank you for the help, Kayla

I use the Kiehl’s creme de Corps, but if you have tried that one, I just bought the Osea Anti Aging Body Balm and I love it.  For a drugstore option, Body Shop makes a nice shea butter lotion.

Hi Abra:

I am reaching out because I need some help with summer clothing. I recently went to Austin for a weekend of music and I purchased a few pairs of denim shorts that are the same style as an older pair I have but in my new size. I tried them on at home and while they were fairly short they still covered everything I needed covered so I didn’t think any more about it and I went to Austin.

To bring this story full circle, I had no idea how much the shorts would ride up and how uncomfortable I would be needing to pull them down constantly. I realized that my old pair didn’t have this issue because they were several sizes too big so I always just belted them and went about my day. I was wondering if you had recommendations for shorts that are cute and polished but appropriate for summer activities like barbeques and the like. 

I am not picky regarding color/pattern/style since I hope to get a variety. Thanks so much! Sandra

Sometimes it’s scary how you ladies and I are on the same wave length.  I just finished choosing shorts to wear this summer.  With a baby who just started crawling, dresses might not be the best choice for every day. ????‍♀️

For denim shorts, I tried on several pairs.  I realized quickly that I need a 5″ inseam or longer.  A 4″ will no longer do it.  And high rise…that was 80s Mom-jean adjacent, over-emphasizing my mid-section.  I ended up trying on about 10 pairs.  The two pairs I bought from Old Navy, a white short and a boyfriend short, both have 7″ inseams.  I also snagged a 5″ distressed short from Rack.

Beyond denim shorts (which I intend to wear with gauze and linen button ups all summer), Jean Wang convinced me to try these Open Edit pleated shorts in rust (also in plus).  I like how they flare, but I needed to size up one size to get the proportions balanced between the high waist and the flare.

The last pair of shorts that I decided to keep are very relaxed.  I wanted a pair I could just throw on and walk out.  These olive shorts with a tie waist in a light, flowy gauze were the winners.  Technically, they are a maternity short.  I took my usual size and the little bit of room makes them perfect for a Saturday.

Hello, Abra,

I purchased the Savannah skirt in Bali Green from Athleta, which is super comfortable and flattering. However, after years of wearing dresses, I’m not quite sure how to style it beyond the basic tank in the demo photos. My business casual office is pretty casual in the summer, so I’m looking for ways I can layer that will look professional *enough* but not be sweltering in the DC heat and humidity.

AVV

That looks like a fun casual skirt for summer.  Let’s see what we can put together.

For a weekend brunch, I like the look of a button-up with a tied front.  You can tie a shirt yourself or you can buy one that is already tied.  If you want one previously tied, this Sanctuary shirt is a nice one.  This Gap gauze button up is probably my favorite shirt this summer.  I also like this button-up camp shirt. In plus-size, check out this band collar linen shirt.

The key to pairing a fuller skirt like this is to choose a tighter-fitting top.  So a tie-front top emphasizes the waist.  A fuller top with a fuller skirt just looks, well…full.

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  1. Nancy M says:

    This post is amazingly helpful! Thank you!

    • Jill says:

      Agree, all of it! Shorts buying is even harder than jeans buying with the length/riding up concerns. Appreciate the questions and Abra’s always thoughtful answers.

  2. Kelly says:

    I read a tip this week where someone suggested buying shorts 1 or 2 (or 3?) sizes up so solve the problem of them always riding up. Last year’s denim shorts were a little big in the waist to fit the rest of me, and I’m thinking it just might work?

  3. Jill says:

    On lotion, forgot to say I like the Cetaphil moisturizing cream in a jar. Long-lasting benefits, non-greasy, unscented if that matters.

    • Jenn S. says:

      CeraVe’s version of the same product is also nice – its currently getting me through a tretinoin adjustment with virtually no flaking, and is nice for body, too.

  4. FAN From boston says:

    The gift idea of a dry cleaning gift certificate for newly minted young lawyer is GENIUS.

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